Semiconductor sales continue climb from low levels

Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached US$11.37 billion in May, 2.8 per cent higher than the $11.07 billion reached in April, according to figures released Monday by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).

But sales are still 10.5 per cent lower than for May 2001, when semiconductor sales reached $12.71 billion, SIA said. Sales remain 20 per cent lower than last year in the Americas, Europe and Japan, but have risen 22.4 per cent since last year in the rest of Asia, according to SIA figures.

Asia and Japan will lead the recovery in semiconductor sales through this year, according to an analysis of the SIA figures by investment bank Investec Group.

“We believe this geography (Asia and Japan) has the best long-term outlook and will likely be a demand driver for consumption of semiconductor products in the next up-cycle,” the company said in a research note. The American (north and south) market have been stable and improving in the past few months, while Europe was the laggard in May, Investec said.

Sales of microprocessor units (MPUs) were down 2.7 per cent in May from the previous month as the PC market remained weak, while DRAM sales fell 5.2 per cent from the previous month, according to SIA figures.

“We believe MPUs are exhibiting seasonal weakness that is likely to reverse itself moderately in Q3 CY02 (the third quarter of this year) and in earnest in the 4Q CY02 (the fourth quarter of this year) driven by back-to-school and holiday season demand,” Investec said.